1193640557_d9fa8902e2_m“You are wholly complete and your success in life will be in direct proportion to your ability to accept this truth about you.” ~ Dr. Robert Anthony

When I think of proportion, finding the right mix is what comes to mind. Concepts of balance, unity, measurement, harmony or relative size might come to mind for you as well. Proportion can be simply defined as the proper relation between two things.

Proportion is abundant in its everyday presence. It applies to and we find it in/with:

  • investment allocations
  • food servings
  • sleep or lack of
  • sun exposure
  • use of time
  • relationships
  • spending/saving
  • Barbie dolls
  • scare resource use
  • home decorating
  • determining where to live
  • social media use
  • architecture
  • exercising
  • “work-life”
  • giving/tithing

6828186220_23d97e16c5_mThere will always be a mix that is appropriate for you and according to where you are in life. The challenge with proportions is how to consciously manage them. For example, how do you act at an all-you-can-eat buffet? Do you skimp on vital sleep at the expense of your health? Is you exercise regimen excessive… or too infrequent? Do you use water judiciously?

How often do you think about the various mixes in your life? Is there too much or too little of some things?

108139247_81df889079_mIf you’re open to reflecting on proportion, here are three steps you can consider taking:

  1. Focus on your mind and body. Start in small ways and find what level of healthy habits work well for you. Pursue being fit. Take a 20 minute walk. The same goes for your mind. A fresh mind is a fresh spirit. Read two out–of-the-ordinary articles each week. Listen to a podcast once a week. Spoken and written words enliven and harmonize our minds. Be rich in thoughts.
  2. Eliminate things that frustrate you. (This aligns with my recent post on being inconvenienced.) If getting home late on Fridays kills social events and puts a strain on important relationships, leave work a little early or limit your travel on Fridays. There can be endless sources of frustration in your life which yield disproportionate reactions. Simply take time to identify and manage them.
  3. Be intentional about time and proportion. Think of each year as 365 days of equal value, and then set out to get full value from each one no matter what you are doing.


56 thoughts on “Proportion

  1. Great posting, Eric. (How you come up with them I have no idea.) I was reminded that if the recipe calls for quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon, 5 teaspoons of it doesn’t make it 20 times better!

  2. Hi Eric, I like the reminders especially about food and sleep, they are most commonly tampered with. People overeat, waste food and skip meals – for various reasons. Same happens with sleep patterns. While proportion becomes a natural habit, it is healthier to keep a check on the deviations…with your tips! Thanks for sharing.

  3. The sleep one is really important to me nowadays. I can’t thrive on a couple of hours like I could even 5 years ago. Also, I find I must try to maintain a good work/life balance. Sounds simple but is necessary.

  4. Interesting Eric. Just before I read your post I had to deal with our medical insurance. Very frustrating because of all the mistakes they make. I sat quietly and gathered myself before I phoned. I was angry and frustrated and I knew my response to them would be out of proportion. When I put the phone down to them I felt at peace. My proportional response was good. Problem solved. 🙂 Great post. Love your use of proportion.

    • Coincidence continued, Don. Only a couple of days ago I had a similar conversation with a representative from my medical insurance company. I was prepared to “let it rip” give their recent notice of a 28% premium increase for 2015. But before I phoned, I found and appreciated an unanticipated calm that took me into the call/conversation from a different perspective. And the outcome was amazingly favorable. The woman I spoke with treated me like her own brother and shared amazing options/alternatives that I know would not have been shared had I entered the call ‘ready to launch’ and clearly out of proportion. I’m smiling knowing our awareness yielded positive experiences. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the post Eric. Another thought I have about proportion (to your point # 2) is expending energy (frustration, anger) in the right proportion to a difficult situation. Not sure this makes sense but I’ve seen people get super angry about a misplaced item….or really upset about a slight they’ve perceived has happened. I’ve done it myself until I realize that the reaction I’m having is not in proportion to the situation.

    The reference to Barbie made me smile. Thanks!

    • It makes complete sense, Jer. I’ve done this myself. However, now that we are both more consciously aware of how we are react, we can recognize, adjust, and redirect our focus and emotion. Thanks for sharing your experience as I suspect it is one to which many can relate. And in hindsight, find a bit amusing.

      As for the Barbie reference, I had to include it. You are the only one who has acknowledged it. 🙂

  6. Brilliant insights Eric! You always seem to hone in on the subject matter that we all think about subconsciously, but never seem to bring to the contemplative mind. Reflecting upon the idea of proportion, I realize that it is not on in the material things or consumption of them that we struggle, but also in the psychological realm. Thanks for sharing, you always provide such delicious food for thought!

    • Thanks, Dave. To your kind observation (and comment) I guess some of the posts are living up to the blog’s title and sub-title. I appreciate your reflecting and acknowledging both sides of the proportion coin. And to “food for thought,” I like to think I’m simply providing nourishment for the masses. 🙂

  7. Great post, Eric. At present I am working diligently on the sleep thing. I still wake at 5 every morning, but been making myself go back to bed to sleep a little more. I’m hoping in time I can train myself to get eight hours instead of 5. 🙂 All this seems simple in theory, but keeping everything in proportion is anything but simple to put in practice.

    • To your comment, Elizabeth, you already have two factors working in your favor: 1) you acknowledge that training yourself may well yield what you seek (and possibly, need) and; 2) you know it’s not necessarily going to be easy. When, however, are things worthwhile easy? 🙂 Thanks for sharing you personal experience and positive intention. 🙂

  8. There is always discrepancy in some way: not enough sleep, too much work, too much driving, not enough reading. Achieving balance is what I strive for, and when things fall into their proper places, as rare as that might be, everything feels wonderful. Our lives are but works in progress. Great post, Eric.

      • I lifted some weights at my office during lunch break, does that count? 🙂 Haha. Darnit. I play tennis and walk and of course run around with the kids during the warm weather months but it seems exercise fades for me in the winter. I have a gym membership but rately go anymore. Need to just put it in the schedule like a doc appt or work task and then treat it as such. No excuses here, just slacking lately! Hey have a great day, my friend. Appreciate you.

  9. Thanks for a great reminder, Eric! Sometimes we just speed through life without reflecting on the mix of things, which actually might no longer be in our best interest.

    • You are welcome. Sadly, for many, it’s even more than “sometimes.” For me, it’s often about creating time to smell the roses and in that pause (and to your word), reflecting. Those moments can be wonderfully awakening and restorative.

  10. Wonderful, Eric. Balance is so important and it’s amazing how many people lose sight of that with their incessant drive for more money and the belief that they must work in order to live. Your advice, as always, is spot on and I hope it helps a lot of people.

    • “Incessant drive” for much more than money, I might respectfully add. And the speed with which many are driven. Oy! Glad I got off that track and have opportunities to create awareness with and for others. Thanks, tj.

    • Irene, might you be open to reframing your comment to: Something I strive for and will achieve.” ? Sometimes a slight mind-set change can awaken significant shifts. 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing your personal challenge.

  11. This is such an interesting post. I believe as I have aged, I have become more aware (perhaps greater control of willpower) where I understand that smaller proportions often are the best. Somehow, I think the invincibility of youth can lead to a ‘waste more, want more’ attitude that if not corrected at some point leaves us unhealthy and easily overwhelmed. Find what you need, understand and accept ~ you give great advice once again!

  12. The operative in your words, “…if not corrected…” is key. While I appreciate your sentiment re: advice giving, my take away is the simplicity in your words, “Find what you need, understand and accept.” Forsooth!

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